“The filmmaking process taught me that I need to be authentic—in my scripts and in real life.”- John Grooters
Filmmaking is an intense process involving great minds that work together to produce classics- stunning stories that are depicted by phenomenal acting talents. Although the premise is similar, BL Directors are faced with the arduous task of representing the LGBTQ community appropriately and in liberation. In today’s feature, we will be talking about directors who are celebrated for their daring and realistic representation of the BL industry.
Krishna Naidu’s Favorites
Aof Noppharnach Chaiwimol
A screenwriter and director par excellence, Aof Noppharnach is well known in the Thai BL industry for his intriguing repertoire. From Dark Blue Kiss to A Tale of Thousand Stars to the recently concluded mega hit Bad Buddy The Series, Aof excels at storytelling and also in bringing out the best in his actors. His works are carefully curated representations of the various issues faced by the LGBTQ community and being an active member, Aof’s renditions are rather daring and realistic. While I loved the subtle and soft romance in ATOTS, his rustic approach in Bad Buddy Series was praiseworthy. Aof loves exploring different themes and dimensions in each of his shows, turning them into a metaphorical experience. His works will leave a deep impression on your minds and force you to think “Out of the Box”
New Siwaj Sawatmaneekul
New Siwaj is notable for his shows like Make it Right The Series 1 & 2, Love by Chance S1 & S2, Reminders, Until We Meet Again, 7 Project and the current on-air drama Star and Sky: Star in My Mind. I have watched most of his productions and I’m in love with his vision. Siwaj has a comfortable camaraderie with most of his actors, which puts them at ease. Most of his directorial works are angsty romances tinged with the pain of separation and possible reconciliation. None of them are breezy affairs and often accentuate the stigmas faced by the LGBTQ community. His storytelling style is admirable and exceptional. Definitely one of my favorite directors in the current chop!
Hwang Da Seul
I’m not a huge fan of Korean BL’s and yet I can’t help but fall in love with Hwang Da Seul’s ventures. In an industry that is still evolving, Da Seul is a visionary who has the guts to take risks. She creates masterpieces that are both reckoning and pathbreaking. Starting from Where Your Eyes Linger (which kickstarted the BL industry in Korea) to To My Star (which had realistic depictions of a gay couple) to her recent release Blueming (somber and heartwarming), Hwang Da Seul must be applauded for a telling a story in an entirely engrossing manner. There is never a dull moment in any of her shows and she is quite adept at capturing the subtle moments that add a humane touch to her works. Simply exemplary!
Nuchy Anucha Boonyawatana
Nicknamed Nuchy, Anucha Boonyawatana is a trendsetter. As a trans woman, Anucha Boonyawatana’s works mostly focus on issues of gender, sexuality as well as the social and political disparity in the Thai society. She has a strong voice and a staunch opinion which is pretty evident in her directorial works. Although she is well known for her award-winning films “The Blue Hour” and “”Malila: The Farewell Flower”; she gained global recognition because of her recently concluded political satire “Not Me Series”. Taking a dig at the anticlimactic politics in Thailand coupled with some power packed performances by the lead couple, Anucha led this narrative into a direction that was thought provoking and commendable. There are very few directors who can compare to her depth of storytelling and I’m totally looking forward to her future works!
Aam Anusorn Soisa-ngim
Although marred with controversies often; Aam Anusorn is one of those few directors whose diverse works leave a profound impression on your mind. Although he made a name for himself with his movies “Present Perfect” and its sequel “Present Still Perfect”; his first BL drama, “2moons2” put him in the limelight. Since then, he has worked on various BL projects like Call It What You Want S1 & S2, BL: Broken Fantasy and the upcoming release Till the World Ends which will premiere soon. Aam has a sophisticated style of direction and a daring attitude that is often reflected in his dramas/movies. I’m rather impressed with his refreshing depiction of the LGBTQ community and since he is an active member, Aam earnestly fights for their causes.
Cheewin Thanamin Wongskulphat
Thanamin Wongskulphat, nicknamed Cheewin, is popular for his dramas Make It Right S1 & S2, Why R U The Series, YYY Series, Y-Destiny, the current on-air Secret Crush On You and the upcoming That’s My Candy, War of Y. Thanamin is rather infamous for the slapstick comedy that’s an integral part of his shows. It could be serious romances like Why R U or romcoms like YYY and Y-Destiny, Thanamin never stops amazing you with his peculiar style of direction. Right now, I’m a huge fan of his SCOY, which is gaining mass popularity because the main lead Toh’s crazy antics are hilarious yet endearing. Mostly, the characters in his dramas are ridiculous and yet their light-hearted banter is a welcome relief.
Aoftion Kittipat Jampa
Kittipat Jampa, nicknamed Aoftion, is one of the creators of DomundiTV and the creator/producer of Mandee Work. The currently on-air drama “Cutie Pie The Series” is his first attempt at direction and nevertheless he aced this role as well. The romance and sensuality in this show are noteworthy and there are no dull moments. Surprisingly, Cutie Pie seems like a work by a seasoned director and that says a lot about Aof’s skills.
While giving due credits to the actors and the crew members, all of whom work together to make their show a success, it is the director whose vision shines the most in the final product. This vision is not something tangible, like the dialogues and overall script, or the way the actors embody their characters, but it is the thread which connects the show to how the viewers perceive it. Some of my favourite directors have also coincidentally directed some of my favourite series, and while it’s a chicken-and-egg situation (do I like the director because I liked the series or did I come to like the series because I liked the director’s vision?), some directors stand out in their navigations of their respective series.
Aof Noppharnach Chaiwimol
He needs no introduction. There is a reason some of my favourite series were directed by Aof, and thinking back on it, it is because he elevates the (arguably already engaging plotlines) to another level with his direction. Dark Blue Kiss and He’s Coming to Me, while not my absolute favourite series, are still memorable to me years after watching them. Additionally, I still can’t talk about A Tale of Thousand Stars and more recently, Bad Buddy, without positively gushing about everything I love in them (spoiler alert: there’s not much that’s not included here).
New Siwaj Sawatmaneekul
I was afraid to watch Until We Meet Again initially, because I knew it would leave me a blubbering mess. I wasn’t wrong. It is an absolute ride, and New ensured that the series did not cave in on itself with the heavy plotline. It could have become almost melodramatic, but under his reins, UWMA became a masterpiece. All the actors got their moments to shine, and what resulted was a show that has gone onto the BL Hall of Fame.
Nuchy Anucha Boonyawatana
Not Me was a show that was extremely powerful, not only because of the talented cast and their mind-blowing performances, but what it represented. Her characters had their fictional villains to fight, but the show deals with very real issues plaguing Thai society. She bridged the gap between fiction and reality, and brought in discussions of corruption, class inequalities, and the right to marriage equality, giving us viewers a lot to contemplate even after the show ended.
Boss Naruebet Kuno
I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving I Told Sunset About You. Even before watching, I’d heard of all the accolades the show was receiving, and it deserved every single one of them, especially due to the pure beauty with which it was directed. Boss made you go on that journey with Teh and Oh-aew and long for something without knowing what it was. I only need to look at a still of ITSAY before I am immersed yet again in every moment that the show encapsulated.
I think what I came to realise while writing this compilation is that I love being made to feel things. I want to enter a new series positively expectant, and exit it a complete mess of emotions inside (hopefully positive ones). My favourite directors make the best of all the elements of production and highlight not only the stories but elevate the potential of the actors as well. I can’t wait to see more of them!
New Siwaj Sawatmaneekul
New Siwaj had a beautiful direction in every aspect in his popular show “Love By Chance”. The color scheme based on the characters is a clever way to present their moods and personalities. Everything from the lighting to the costumes gave me a better sense of the characters. It separated their roles from the actors who portrayed them. Choosing to have Perth Tanapon stand on podiums to help him be the same height as Saint Suppapong was a stroke of genius. It played into his dominant seme role very well. New directed the show so well that years later I still think about how it made me feel. If it had been directed by someone else, it wouldn’t have been this good.
We will be back with an exciting new feature next weekend. So till then, keep watching this space as we bring you updates from the BL world!
One thought on “Favorite BL Directors- Part III”
I keep seeing mentions of P’New and P’Aof—- for good reason:)
Appreciate the mention of Boss for ITSAY- it wasn’t the story that made it wonderful- it was the way it was framed, shot and told- that is a director at top of their craft with good team around them.
Really enjoyed the spotlight on the directors.